Fulbright specifically requests that you address the following points:
- Why do you wish to undertake an ETA opportunity?
- Why are you applying to this specific country?
- What do you bring to the classroom that will enrich the learning experience of English language learners overseas?
- What specific ideas do you have for engaging with students and helping them to learn English?
- What specific qualifications, training, or experiences do you have to prepare you to serve as an ETA?
- How do you expect to benefit from the assignment?
- What plans do you have for civic engagement outside the classroom?
Pointers and Caveats:
- As a general guideline, remember that you will be selected only if the selection committee believes you can be an effective teacher of English in a classroom in the country to which you’ve applied. Your essay must convince them that you are qualified to do the job and are genuinely interested in teaching.
- If you’ve just returned from study abroad in the country to which you are applying for the ETA, you must be very careful not to give the impression that you are simply looking for an opportunity to return to the country. Focus on the teaching!
- You may not be able to cover each of the recommended points in depth in a 1-page essay. Even if you don’t speak to a point directly, make sure that the question underlying it is addressed somehow.
- As you write, keep the prose clean. Avoid overly complex sentence structures that might slow down your reader.
- When talking about why you’ve chosen a specific country (2), dig deep, and think critically about your choice. To be effective, your essay (and interview) must go beyond the basics of I speak/really want to learn the country’s language, I’m taking a gap year before Medical School and this seems like a cool way to spend it, a friend went and told me it was great, or I traveled there and the people were really friendly. You have to convince your reader that the choice isn’t haphazard and you have an understanding of and rationale for the place you’ve applied to teach. If you have a heritage connection to a place, don’t let that appear to be your sole motivation. A selection committee is unlikely to be impressed by an “I want to seek my roots” argument.
- When talking about what you will bring to the classroom (3), think about personal qualities/interests, perspectives, aspects of US culture that you are passionate about that might not be widely known in the host country, what cultural materials you would like to use, etc.
- When talking about engaging with students (4), think both personal qualities and strategies that come from experiences you have had as a learner in a classroom or occasions where you have had to work to draw out or engage others.
- When talking about qualifications (5), if you don’t have experience teaching, think about experiences in areas like tutoring, mentoring, acting as an RA, WUSA, or camp counselor, etc. Any time you have had to engage a group and communicate important information to them there is a chance you can draw something from it.
- When talking about potential benefits (6), aside from discussing cultural and/or linguistic aspects of the ETA experience, you have the opportunity to tie this experience to what you hope to do next, both personally and professionally.
- When thinking about civic engagement (7), previous applicants have built on extracurricular interests, service, cultural pursuits, and a number of other things. Just make sure whatever you wish to pursue isn’t specific to a particular place. Make sure this doesn’t dominate your essay – your primary role is to teach – but you should show you have thought about it.